Rafa Benitez eyes Newcastle return & targets John Stones plus a Chelsea midfielder

Rafa Benitez celebrates Newcastle win over Stoke

When will the Newcastle takeover be completed?

Last Friday, the Sun claimed that the Newcastle takeover had finally been approved.

At the same time, Forbes said that “the Premier League has approved an agreed deal between Sports Direct tycoon, Mike Ashley, and a consortium led by Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF).”

Yet, as Newcastle fans wake up on Monday, neither the Premier League, PIF or Newcastle have confirmed the deal has been closed.

According to the Telegraph, however, the finishing line is in sight for the Saudis. It’s believed the deal “could be resolved this week.”

Rafa Benitez eyes Newcastle return

Sticking with the Telegraph, reporter Matt Law has dropped a huge rumour today: Rafa Benitez is keen to rejoin Newcastle once the takeover is finalised.

Benitez left Newcastle at the end of the 2018-19 season when his contract expired.

The Spanish manager is now working in China with Dalian Pro.

Benitez is under contract with Dalian until January 2022, while he receives £12 million a season in wages.

It’s unclear how much Newcastle would have to spend to get Benitez out of his current contract.


What about Steve Bruce & Mauricio Pochettino?

So will Benitez return to St James’ Park?

Currently, Steve Bruce remains in charge of the Magpies. And, it’s fair to say that Bruce has exceeded expectations this campaign already, as Newcastle have advanced to the quarter-finals of the FA Cup, while they sit in 13th place in the Premier League.

The Telegraph note that Bruce is definitely set to keep his job until the end of the 2019-20 season:

Telegraph Sport has already reported that Bruce will be backed until at least the end of the season and given the opportunity to remain as manager beyond that, while no shortlists have been drawn up over possible replacements or big-money signings.

Former Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino has also been tipped as a possible next manager of the Magpies.

Last week Pochettino finished his Spurs ‘gardening leave’. Put another way, the Argentine coach is now free to accept a new job.

However, the Telegraph have poured cold water on thoughts that Pochettino could be the next Newcastle coach:

Mauricio Pochettino has also been linked with the Newcastle job, but it is less clear whether or not he would accept an offer to succeed Bruce even though the Argentine has admitted he would like his next job to be in England.


Man City’s John Stones & Chelsea midfielder Ross Barkley

If Benitez does agree to return to manage Newcastle, the Telegraph report that he’s targeting two players: Man City defender John Stones and Chelsea midfielder Ross Barkley.

Stones, 25, is under contract until 2022. While Barkley, 26, is under contract until 2023.

It’s reported that Man City are willing to sell Stones this summer, although it’s unclear how much money the Sky Blues would demand for the centre-half.

Stones joined Man City from Everton for £47.5 million.

Arsenal are also said to be looking at move for Stones.

As for Barkley, who hasn’t scored a goal in the Premier League this season, the Telegraph suggest he’s also up for sale:

Frank Lampard, the Chelsea head coach, has plenty of options in midfield and will know he will have to sell some players to help fund the kind of incoming business he would like to complete.


Also see: Best Netflix, Amazon & YouTube football documentaries & movies to watch during coronavirus isolation

9 best football documentaries to watch on ESPN+ during COVID-19 quarantine

This article was edited by Ben Green.

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